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TOPHAT SOCCER

TEAM TRAVEL GUIDE

Pre-Travel Planning Activities
The team Coach, with approval of the appropriate Director of Coaching, will determine a travel list based on goals or objectives that are established and communicated to parents and players. Why travel? Some suggested goals or objectives are:
  • Experience of competing at equal or higher level and having fun
  • Preparation for State Cup or Regional competition
  • Build team camaraderie and play soccer to gain experience
  • Go to a good tournament and see a major soccer event such as "World Cup"
  • Cultural/Educational experience with some soccer included
Other considerations for meeting the goals and objectives:

  • Level of play of competing teams to complement your team's ability
  • Length of trip: i.e., 3-day weekend, 1 week
  • Dates of tournaments desired
  • Narrow the choices of tournaments that match the goals & objectives
Team Manager, Treasurer, and Travel Manager gather information in advance of parent meeting:

  • Check out other big events in the same area at same time. This affects cost and lodging availability.
  • Call for tournament brochures and prior year's programs to learn about the scheduling and participants, including hotel information at reduced tournament rates.

Prepare cost analysis sheet of expected expenses at a per player cost for all sites/tournaments that are options and being considered for travel. Hotel expenses need to include costs for taxes. The Club has hotel tax exemptions for some states. Check with the Club office. If a player is leaving early or coming late, they share an equal split of the costs.

  • Hotel expenses should include the full cost of the Coach's room (see select coaches travel policy) and be divided among the players. Phone calls made by individuals are paid by the individual.
  • Hotels that include a Continental Breakfast are best.
  • Determine how the team wants to handle rooming. Suggested options include
  • Team Rooming: allow 4 players per room or require a parent "chaperone" in each room with 3 players
  • Family Rooming: each player stays with their parents.
  • If the team chooses Team Rooming, assignments will be set by the Head Coach. Mix up players from trip to trip.
  • Airfare should include all expenses for the Coach (see select coaches travel policy) and be divided by the number of players.
  • If driving to the tournament, the coach's costs should be covered by the players (see select coaches travel policy).
  • Estimate player food costs at $25 a day per player. Inform parents/players to expect to tip at meals if they go to sit-down restaurant.
  • Estimate some costs for food to be split by team for eating between games.
  • Estimate costs for supplies for the Medical Kit to be stocked.
  • List costs to include souvenirs, Tournament T-shirts, entertainment (team movie, etc.)

Parent Meeting
Discuss tournament and travel plans set by coach; determine team preferences for travel.

Team Travel Behavior Rules
Coach has the right to set behavior rules. At the coach's discretion, players may be sent home at parent's additional expense if they violate serious behavior rules related to drugs, drinking, illegal activities, opposite sex in rooms, etc.

Coach, players, and parents should agree on GENERAL Behavior Rules and punishments to fit the violation. Consider drawing up a travel behavior contract for players and parents to sign. See sample contract at end of section.

Medical Release Forms:
2 copies of a notarized and fully completed medical release form should be required for every player traveling (even if parents are traveling too). One copy will be kept with the Coach and one with the Team Manager. If parent contact will be difficult to obtain for an emergency, a complete medical history form should be completed or every player. See sample form at end of section.

The Team Manager or Coach must be aware of Prescription Medicines for players.

Allergies, chronic illnesses, special requirements such as aspirin, Motrin, Ibuprofen habits need to be communicated to the Coach or Team Manager.

Transportation
The team needs to agree on how to travel (drive, fly, charter a motor coach). If you fly, plan to make a seat deposit within 24 hours of making reservations. Schedule time for Group Check-In at airport and return. Remember to bring picture ID for check-in at air gate.

Money Matters
A schedule for payment of airfare, vans, hotels, etc. must be given parents. If a Travel agent is used, the agent name should be given to parents so they can pay for air tickets directly on their credit cards. The payment dates given to parents should be a least 1 week prior to actual date payable to travel entities. If a parent fails to make a payment on time, they need to understand they may be forfeiting any previous monies paid, and possibly forfeiting their child's chance to participate.

If fundraising projects are necessary, considerable lead time is needed.

Travel Dates
Set dates for travel. Who Is Going?

Who will be traveling with the team? Who will be available to put in some volunteer time to assist with team duties?

Determine the number of players, coaches, team manager, team treasurer, parents. This determines the number of hotel rooms needed. (Suggestion for High School age players: 4 players to one room with a designated room captain).

Parent Duties
Laundry: Suggest purchasing individual laundry bags for players' uniforms. Need to be washed daily. Pre-purchase soap and softeners.

Team Meals: Parent needs to plan by immediately scouting out desired cuisine restaurants, costs, times available to serve a party of 15-20. Coach and parent need to decide prior to trip on preferences on what and when to eat relative to game schedule. Consider location of restaurant with fields and hotel. For extended stays such as Regional, consideration should be given to finding a caterer to bring BBQ, pasta, etc. to a park location. Contact Club office for suggestions on how to arrange/find a caterer.

Van Drivers: If the team chooses to use vans, parents must pick up and drive vans from airport. NO PLAYERS DRIVE VANS - NO ONE UNDER AGE OF 25 DRIVES! Someone else gets their luggage while drivers go directly to car rental counter. Credit Cards are required for rentals. They must have enough credit dollar amounts to include the estimated cost of the full van rental even if a check will be written for the cost at the end of the trip.

Grocery Duty: Parents to go for food & sundries for players. Coaches may want team to eat between games if games are scheduled close together.

Medical Kit: Parent responsible for stocking the Medical Kit with the Coach's required items and make certain it is at the field before a game. It is best to have it in the same van as the Coach or Trainer. This is also true for the team benches, sun tarps, flag, etc.

Curfew and Meals Coordination Duty: Parent to help keep track of players at designated times and activities.

Miscellaneous Travel Information

  • Club and team unity is promoted by flying together and staying together.
  • Coaches and/or managers determine flights.
  • Teams that are attending the same event will be at the same hotel.
  • USYSA Team Travel Papers and Fee
  • Team travel papers must be submitted to GYSA at least 30 days prior to the dates of travel. This is now done online through the Georgia Soccer website
  • Tournament Application Forms: Be sure to meet deadlines on the application forms. The Club office keeps updated information on a variety of tournaments on file. All tournament applications received by the Club office are also available to copy. Usually the Club staff will know of coaches/teams that have attended the tournament being considered. They can be contacted for advice and information on their experiences.
  • Packing List/Travel Bags - Have a Packing Check-Off List of required items to be carried onto the plane (not checked) such as uniforms, cleats. All bags should be labeled with an identifying tag that is clearly unique (colorful with the Club logo). The carry-on soccer bag should not weigh over 10 pounds. The travel bag should not weigh over 23.5 pounds. Encourage players to travel light and leave room for purchases.
  • Travel Clothes - It is suggested that team players wear the same standard outfit for easy identification but NOT their game uniforms. Matching jackets or hats are suggested. If players are not wearing the same team outfit, they are expected to wear skirts or slacks. Players are representing the North Atlanta Soccer Association and are expected to look act and appropriately.
  • An itinerary including hotel names, address, and telephone numbers should be distributed to all players and parents especially those not traveling with the team.

Player Responsibilities On Trip
Adhere to check-in times and places set by Coach.

Buddy System required at ALL times - WHENEVER OUT OF ROOM. NO ONE GOES ANYWHERE ALONE!!

Room Captains - Room captain is responsible for leading their roommates by:

  • Establishing that everyone has a BUDDY every time they leave room.
  • Designating who has room keys and keeps rooms locked at all times/SAFETY.
  • Getting all roommates up on time for breakfast at designated times.
  • Establishing shower schedules and make certain roommates stay on schedule.
  • Getting roommates to have their laundry bags ready at preset times.
  • Getting roommates to get ready to meet schedules for van departure and games.
  • Getting roommates to dinner and other activities at set meeting times.
  • Making certain all curfews are met & all roommates are in room before curfew.
  • Getting roommates to team meetings on time.
  • Getting roommates to keep rooms organized so personal items can be found/SAFE.
  • Communicating problems to Coach.
  • Logging Phone Calls so proper player can pay for calls (if not prepaid).
  • Getting roommates to respect players' pre-game rituals,
  • At coach's discretion, if a "problem" occurs, i.e., missed curfew, the Room Captain is held responsible and may be "punished" by not being allowed to play in part or all of the next game or some other predefined consequence

Travel Tips
Set a Departure Meeting time and place for all players, coaches, and parents to gather before check-in or driving to Tournament.

If the flight is to leave at 3 P.M., insist on all fliers being at the designated meeting place in the Airport by 1:00 P.M. for Group check-in.

Players should each bring 2 CDs for playing in the vans.

Coach or Team Manager has player passes at airport gate for Photo ID required at check-in.

Make certain players carry on their soccer bags with uniforms, etc.

Designate who has the team checkbook/credit card to register and pay for rooms & vans.

Make certain the designated Van drivers have credit cards that have dollar limits equal to the amount expected rental price (even if you'll pay by check when you return the vans).

Coach will plan departure times & meeting place for all games.

Coach will plan eating schedules around game times.

Coach will state activity limits (swimming or other physical activity limits in advance)

Coach to set practice schedule upon arrival at hotel check-in.

Coaches are not required to distribute playing time equally.

Coaches control most of the schedule for players - when to eat, sleep, rest, practice, shop, etc. This is intended to have the best rested and mentally prepared team as possible.

Parents are not to take their player for activities without consulting the coach first to determine if there is a possible conflict with team plans. Coach may say no.

Plan to pack for unknown weather conditions - umbrellas, gloves, extra socks, etc.

Calls home - Players should have a cell phone, prepaid telephone card, credit card or know how to make collect calls.

Do not send large amounts of cash with players.

Bring first aid products according to your preferences.

Put player's name on all items of value. i.e., cameras, clothes.

Behavior Guidelines And Contract

On this trip you will have a special opportunity to meet new people, to see and experience new things, to live on your own with other people your own age, and to share with them friendship, fun and excitement, a few disappointments, and many great times.

All participants on the trip are expected to be polite, positive, well-mannered, cooperative, good sports, and respectful and considerate of others - those you encounter along the way as well as those with whom you are traveling.

This will not always be easy. It will require your effort and your concentration. You will find that those who have the best time on the trip are those who go out of their way to make the trip special for others. It should be a goal of your to be one of those who has the best time this way.

The few rules are for the health, safety, and happiness of everyone. Rooms, roommates, and van partners are assigned so that everyone gets time with everyone else, and to avoid hassles and hurt feelings. The aim is to foster interaction within the group and encourage greater involvement with the people and places that will be encountered along the way.

No member of the group belongs in rooms assigned to anyone else without the express permission of one of the adult leaders. You will share in a variety of "housekeeping" tasks along the way. Rooms will need to be neat at least once a day, and the vans will need cleaning from time to time. Perhaps you will need to give some of your free time to help with laundry or marketing chores.

There may be times when you will be off without direct adult supervision. When this happens, one of the adults will expect to know where you are and when you will be back. At the same time, it is always your responsibility to:

  • Know how to find one of the adults
  • Know when and where you are expected to be next
  • Be there on time

When you are off without adult supervision, you will always use the "Rule of Three" - at least three players together.

These are not particularly difficult standards to live up to, and you would not be on the trip unless it was believed you would live up to them. Those who cannot live within these guidelines can expect to have their freedom restricted. Those who persist in their inability to follow the guidelines, or who seriously misbehave, may be permanently restricted to be with an adult at all times, or if the adults concur, will be sent home at additional parent expense.

I agree to follow the behavior guidelines for the trip, and I understand the consequences if I do not live within them. I also understand that if I am sent home, I and my family will be liable for all expenses incurred as a result of that decision of the group leaders, including those incurred by any group leaders who must accompany me along the way.


TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT POLICY

This covers reimbursement to the professional coach for those expenses associated with team travel.

Policy: Acknowledging that travel to and participation in competitive out-of-town tournaments are vital to the development of the select soccer player, the competitiveness of the team, and the overall enjoyment of the complete soccer experience; it will be the team's responsibility to reimburse those reasonable expenses associated with this tournament travel for one professional coach/trainer.

It is the intent of this policy that travel be discussed between the coach and team manager before expenses are incurred, and that what constitutes “reasonable expenses” is agreed to by both parties before they are incurred.

NASA Tophat is not responsible for reimbursement of any team-related travel expense. Any Club-related travel expenses must be approved in writing by the Executive Director before they are incurred, and is not subject to this policy.

The club's policy for these expenses is as follows:

Tournaments

Local tournaments (inside Georgia): coaches are to receive $25 per diem.  The only exceptions being Georgia Soccer State Championship events, State Cup, President's Cup and D2 State Cup for which per diem will be $50. 

Travel tournaments (outside Georgia):  $50 per diem and travel covered.  Mileage if coach drives own vehicle, rental car and gas covered 100%, flights covered 100%

If the tournament is more than 350 miles one-way from the team's home park, the professional coach will have the option to travel by air in the coach section. Parking and ground transportation expenses are included in the reimbursable cost of air travel. The coach is expected to make prudent use of the team's funds when purchasing air travel. In those cases where air travel is a reasonable alternative, it is expected that the team will shop to secure the lowest fares possible in order to minimize the expense for all team members planning to travel by air. Coaches planning to travel by air should discuss needs and budget with the team manager before incurring expenses.

If the tournament is less than 350 miles from the team's home park, the professional coach is expected to travel by car. When traveling by car, round trip mileage as measured from the team's home park will be reimbursed at 100% of the current IRS approved mileage rate for business use of a vehicle. Mileage shall be calculated as one round trip measured from the team's home park to the playing venue.

Carpooling with another coach or riding with a team parent is an option to reduce team expenses when feasible.

Lodging at the tournament location will be reimbursed for the professional coach. The professional coach is expected to stay where the team is staying (payment by the team for additional persons in this room is not reimbursable).

In the event that a coach has more than one team playing in a tournament, the aggregate expenses shall be split equally between the number of teams attending (e.g. 2 teams => each team is responsible for 50% of aggregate expenses as calculated above.)

League Game

In the event that a team is involved in a league game that exceeds a 150 mile round trip as measured from the team's home park, mileage will be reimbursed at 100% of the current IRS approved mileage rate.

In the event that a team is involved in a league game that exceeds a 150 mile round trip as measured from the team's home park, lodging at the league game location will be reimbursed for the professional coach. The professional coach is expected to stay where the team is staying (payment by the team for additional persons in this room is not reimbursable).

As normal coaching fees are designed to compensate coaches for league games, no per diem should be paid for league games.  A per diem will be paid to coaches for RPL, SPL and National League out of state games in accordance with the same policy as tournaments as stated above.

Region III Premier League play will bear similar travel reimbursement guidelines as out of area travel. This reimbursement will be provided by the teams and not the club so it is incumbent on the team manager to coordinate travel with the coach and players' parents so as to minimize cost to the team.

Responsibility: This policy shall be administered by the select team manager. Any exceptions shall be approved in advance by the appropriate Director of Coaching.

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